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20 Mar 2013

Sir Richard Branson ‘goes green’ to celebrate St Patrick

Worldwide tourism push gets the green light on St Patrick’s Day

The latest ‘icon’ to join Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening this weekend is none other than Sir Richard Branson! In a major coup for Irish tourism, the English business magnate has dyed his beard (and eyelashes!) green and the Virgin website will also take on a green hue – joining a host of famous landmarks and iconic sites around the world for Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative to celebrate St Patrick this weekend. Sir Richard will also tweet a photo of his greened beard to his 3 million followers – helping to spread the good news about Ireland to people everywhere around the globe.

Sir Richard Branson said: "The whole world is going green for St Patrick’s Day and when I was asked what I would turn green for the day – it just had to be the beard! We’re always up for some fun at Virgin (our website has had a ‘green-over’ too), and would like to wish all our friends from Ireland and Tourism Ireland a very Happy St Patrick's Day. It’s great to see Ireland getting back on its feet again and outperforming many other nations affected by the global financial crisis. I look forward to visiting your beautiful country again very soon."

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said that the response to the organisation’s ‘greening’ idea has been phenomenal everywhere. “Our Global Greening initiative has got even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Anfield stadium in Liverpool, the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and even the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the Republic of Ireland takes on Sweden later this month in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

“We aim to bring a smile to the world this weekend and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities. Our St Patrick’s programme spans Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. We are using every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile this weekend; the saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media, is an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive this year.”

About 70 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world* have already gone, or are set to go, green this weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. They include the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, Selfridges in London, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.


Notes To Editors


Note: first time ‘greenings’ marked *

Great Britain

  • HMS Belfast, London *
  • Anfield Stadium (home of Liverpool FC) *
  • London Eye
  • Selfridges, London
  • Selfridges, Birmingham
  • Town Hall, Manchester
  • Clyde Auditorium, affectionately known as ‘the Armadillo’ (SECC), Glasgow
  • Taxis in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester
  • Sir Richard Branson’s beard and Virgin Airlines website *
North America
  • Niagara Falls (on both the Canadian and US sides)
  • ‘Welcome’ sign, Las Vegas *
  • City Hall, Houston, Texas *
  • Coit Tower, City Hall and the Ferry Building Marketplace *, San Francisco
  • Seattle Great Wheel, Washington *
  • Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington *
  • Massachusetts State House, Boston *
  • Empire State Building, New York
  • City Hall, Toronto, Canada *
  • Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada *
  • Top Canadian chef Massimo Capra’s moustache

Mainland Europe
- Austria
•    Burgtheater (City Hall), Vienna
- Benelux
•    EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands *
•    Manneken Pis statue, Belgium (“dressed” in Irish costume)

- France
•    Porte Saint-Vincent, Vannes *
- Germany
•    Allianz Arena, Munich *
•    TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz
•    ‘Lighthouse’ in Düsseldorf
•    Odeonsplatz in central Munich *
•    Bonn International School *
•    Castle, Bad Homburg *
•    Town Hall, Würzburg *
•    Neumünster church (built over the tomb of St Kilian), Würzburg *
•    Fortuna Kulturfabrik, Höchstadt *
•    Town Hall, Dillingen an der Donau
- Italy
•    Leaning Tower of Pisa
•    Palazzo della Loggia, Brescia *
•    Torre del Filarete (entrance to the Castello Sforzesco), Milan *
- Monaco
•    Prince’s Palace
- Scandinavia
•    Little Mermaid, Denmark *
•    Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden *
- Spain
•    Palacio de Cibeles (Cibeles Palace), Madrid *
•    Cibeles Fountain, Madrid
•    Tower of Hércules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galicia *
•    An entire town on the Costa Blanca called Moraira
•    Town Hall, Pamplona (organised by Dubliner Joe Ó Máirtín)
•    Town Hall, Salamanca

Australia and New Zealand
•    Sydney Opera House
•    Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney *
•    Bell Tower, Perth *
•    Council House, Perth *
•    NSW Parliament sitting on 13 March (the parliamentarians will wear green and a shamrock pin!) *
•    Sky Tower, Auckland, New Zealand
•    Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand *
•    Clock Tower, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Emerging markets
•    Christ the Redeemer statue, Brazil *
•    Pyramids and the Sphinx, Egypt *
•    Burj Al Arab, Dubai
•    Kingdom Tower, Saudi Arabia
•    Gorky Park Gate, Moscow, Russia *
•    Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China *
•    Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai, China
•    Gateway of India, Mumbai, India *
•    Temple of Hercules, Amman, Jordan *
•    Merlion statue and fountain, Singapore *
•    Table Mountain, South Africa
•    Cape Wheel at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, South Africa
•    Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Vilnius, Lithuania *
•    National Bank, Bucharest, Romania *
•    Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania *
•    Athénée Palace Hilton hotel, Bucharest, Romania *
•    JW Marriott hotel, Bucharest, Romania *
•    SkyTower, Bucharest, Romania *